Recalling the best of Hellacopter and Gluecifer with their straight-forward rock attack, New Jerseyâ€™s The Break starts out â€œHandbook For The Hopelessâ€ with â€œThe Wolves Are At The Front Doorâ€. However, The Break does not infuse this opening track with enough energy to keep this fresh and different; by the third minute, every one of their tricks has been used ad infinitum. The same pseudo-new rock (in the style of Incubus, Breaking Benjamin, and 311) comes back again in the follow-up track â€œâ€™67 Avenged?â€. â€œ67 Avenged?â€ is a track that has too much going on â€“ the guitar lines and Johnâ€™s vocals try to work together but end up working at cross-purposes. Trying to cast their lot in a more punk-based sound, the polemic, Strike Anywhere-influenced â€œBullet and A Broken Crossâ€ provides a harder-edge and more compelling reason than other of the previous tracks on â€œHandbookâ€. Never able to find their niche in the earliest tracks of â€œHandbookâ€, â€œEyes Across The Aisleâ€ is a more Strokes/Hives/Foo Fighters-styled track, albeit with the simplistic yet hard hitting guitar lines of a Misfits.
Slowing down the tempo of â€œHandbookâ€ to create a more Southern-rock styled track in â€œLast Night In Manhattanâ€, The Break are trying to incorporate a radio-friendly track to their repertoire and almost pull it off. What keeps â€œLast Nightâ€ from reaching the night of popularity would have to be the lagging nature of the track, which feels as if John and the bandâ€™s final mix is slowed down slightly.Bringing back the harder-edge of â€œMe Inside My Headâ€, The Break find their niche at this juncture after a good half of the disc spent unsure of what direction they want to go. The Break continual their aural assault with â€œRide the Snakeâ€, a track where one finds it hard to get a bead on The Breeak â€“ guitars are blazing, and Mossâ€™s bass line comes to fruition in a big way during this track.
â€œThe Crush of Panicâ€ brings the number of tracks that incorporate a strong bass presence and blistering rock riffs up to the number of tracks that are straight-forward and punk-styled. The Break has a two-pronged attack over the course of â€œHandbookâ€ that ultimately will ensnare legions of listeners. The tracks are perfect road trip fodder, and while there may not be much derivation from the specific formula found on a number of these tracks, The Break do things well.
Top Tracks: Bullet and A Broken Cross, We Arenâ€™t Your Friends
The Break â€“ Handbook For The Hopeless / 2004 Ferret Music / 11 Tracks / http://www.thebreakpage.com / http://www.ferretstyle.com / Reviewed 30 October 2004